We recently had a team session on goal setting. To bring it to life we all had to think of a goal we wanted to achieve. As mentioned in a previous blog, I’m currently enjoying weight training so I started thinking about how to apply the techniques to this domain. You have to start with a what and a when. I go with “I will be able to squat 140kg in the next 12 months”
So I have a goal. I currently go the gym fairly regularly but it often gets binned in favour of beer/gaming and my diet often deviates into kebab and pizza territory. I make emotional decisions based on what I want at the time and rationalise later with excuses such as my muscles needing more rest to grow or that protein in that extra chicken topping will increase my “gainz”. To combat this, I need bring my goal to life with something that appeals to the subconscious mind. Something you can feel and believe, something like….Jason Statham, I bet he can squat 140 no problem. The next time I’m choosing between the gym and ordering a pizza I can stop and think, WWJSD?
Next I have to think of the actions required to achieve this goal. I know that to do this I need to increase the amount of time I spend in the gym and I’ll have to do this consistently. The next step is to think of an action you can take that will help you achieve your goal in the next day, the next hour or even the next 20 mins. I think right, I’m going to going to the gym tonight, no excuses! But I already have an excuse. I’ve been away the previous night and haven’t seen my family. This makes me realise that increasing the time I spend in the gym further decreases the amount of time I can spend with them which in turn increases the amount of time my wife has to spend looking after my son on her own. Sticking to the rigorous schedule a goal like this requires means missing football matches with my dad and bailing on drinks with friends and colleagues.
One of the great pieces advice in the session was to tell people about your goal. Not only does it give you an extra reason not to give up but people will naturally want to help you achieve it. I’m sure my family would be understanding if the goal really meant that much to me but I have to go back to my “why?” and consider what will achieving it actually mean? My son doesn’t care what I can lift as long as it’s more than him and my wife doesn’t care how much weight I can move as long as I, “don’t damage my face while doing it.”
I’m currently strong enough for it to not have any impact on my day to day life so achieving this goal would only mean being able to say, “I’m a bit stronger than I was previously and look better for it.” When it comes to sacrificing pizza and games, this might OK but when it comes to sacrificing time with family, I just don’t want it enough!
My point is not, “don’t set goals unless you hate your family.” It’s that there is no point setting a goal that isn’t compelling enough to you. To have any chance of achieving it, the “why?” needs to appeal to you at an emotional level more than the distractions or the distractions will always win. If you have a goal that you don’t seem to be progressing towards, maybe it’s worth reflecting on the “why?”. Either to remind yourself of its importance or whether you really wanted it enough in the first place.